2017 is at a close, Oscar nominees have been announced, and (most) movies from last year have made their rounds through theaters. Now is the perfect time to talk about the best moments in movies across 2017, a year in which we experienced the Justice League on screen for the first time, and a new Star Wars movie was released; there were plenty of great scenes and moments that made me feel like a five year old rediscovering his passion for movies again. So here are my top five movie moments of the past year:
IT – Georgie Meets Pennywise
I don’t think there’s another scene from 2017 that will be more remembered than the shot of Pennywise peeking out of the sewer at Georgie in his yellow raincoat. Like the purple-infused La La Land dancing shot in 2016, or Max tied to the front of a post apocalyptic death car in 2015, Pennywise in the sewer showed where film was at this year, and was a scene to define a year in movies.
Georgie’s innocence in his short screen time is cranked up to 100, making the scene even more intense mid way through the conversation, when he thinks something is wrong about this clown being in the sewer. Pennywise’s dialogue in the scene is so simple, but it just works. The way Bill Skarsgard chooses to enunciate the words as he says them is just perfect. The excitement in, ‘My name is Pennywise, the dancing clown’ just seems like he knows he’s about to get his first kill in years on this unsuspecting child.
The Dancing Clown eventually just resorts to the most simple phrase when you’re convincing a kid to get something, ‘here… Take it’ he says as his eyes light up and the hand pokes down, out from underneath the yellow raincoat Georgie is sporting. Pennywise then grows into the mouth of jaws, and chomps off poor Georgie’s arm; Georgie thrusts back and tries crawling away, but it is too little, too late, the last image we see is him getting dragged into the sewer, leaving it up to our imaginations what comes next.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Car Interrogation
I heard about ten different iterations of ‘oh s***’ in my theatre as Peter Parker is greeted at the front door of his homecoming date by… The villain he’s been trying to take down all movie.
The timing of this scene is absolutely perfect; right as the second act dies down, we’re kind of left off with a broken Peter, wondering where he’ll go after Tony Stark takes his suit back. As Adrian Toomes/The Vulture opens the door, it’s clear as day exactly what Peter needs to and will do to prove he’s Spider-Man.
What follows is one of the funniest and most awkward date pictures of all time being taken, and then Peter and his date Liz are off to Homecoming, being driven by The Vulture. The whole car ride, Peter can’t blink or take his eyes off of Toomes, and as Liz engages in small talk, Toomes starts to piece together, slowly, who Peter really is. What I love so much about this scene is that it’s dialogue driven in an action movie. Me and my friends could literally go into a car and (with worse acting) remake the scene entirely if we wanted to.
Sweat slowly begins to become reminiscent on Peter’s face as he starts to realize something is up, and Liz is still as oblivious as ever, bringing up even more points for her dad to believe Peter is Spider-Man. When they arrive at the dance, Toomes tells his daughter that he needs to give ‘Pete’ the ‘dad talk,’ and let me tell you, I wouldn’t mess with this guy in a million years. He immediately turns with a gun in his hand and gives Peter two options: go in the dance and show my daughter a good time, or come after me and die. Peter walks in the dance with the most feverish look on his face, and then makes his choice, starting off a thrilling third act.
Baby Driver – Opening Scene
Most of the scenes on here have an emotional peak or a personal reason as to why I like them, but the opening scene for Baby Driver makes my list because it’s just awesome. From the first frame, the theme and tone of the entire film is established. The camera quickly cuts to each of the four main characters, and you know exactly who each of them are just by the looks on their faces. As the words to Bellbottoms begin, Ansel Elgort becomes immediately charismatic and charming as his adoration for music and his car is equally apparent.
The getaway chase is where the scene really picks up though. Baby (Elgort) quickly whips his bright red Subaru around and is followed by multiple cop cars. The best part about the chase is that it combines imaginative elements and crazy stunts, all while being plausible and practical. So many car chases in movies nowadays get it wrong because they just have a ton of flips and crazy stunts that don’t look real and take you out of the movie (I’m looking at you, Transformers), but what Baby Driver gets right is how it captures the moment, and makes the protagonists that are already likeable after a minute of screen time seem vulnerable, but while also showcasing Baby’s skills as a driver.
The end of the scene really sets it apart, as Baby is followed by a helicopter, he confuses it’s tracking with a quick and very clever maneuver; and just like that, Baby Driver is up there with Mad Max and The Dark Knight as one of my favorite car chases of all time.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Throne Room Fight
As the plot is coming to a head in The Last Jedi, this scene acts as the centerpiece for the conflict throughout the film. After Kylo Ren kills Supreme Leader Snoke in the most shocking way possible, it appears for a brief moments that him and Rey are both on the light side of the force as they fight the red guards of Snoke’s throne room.
The shot of Kylo and Rey back to back with their lightsabers lit is poster picture that I’m going to put on my first son’s wall. As they join together, the audience at my midnight premiere screamed and clapped with joy, some people even jumped to their feet with their arms in the air. It was exhilarating. The ensuing fight didn’t disappoint at all either. The eight red guards actually made for a compelling opponent, as they felt worthy enough to put our heroes in danger. Rey and Kylo both showcase their skills without just blowing through the guards, the choreography makes them struggle through each encounter, and had me on the edge of my seat all three times I saw the movie in theaters. Eventually, it gets down to Kylo being choked out by one guard and Rey throwing her lightsaber to him as he lights it through the guard’s head, yeah, it’s awesome, and the creative use of the force is the perfect way to end a fight.
Wonder Woman – No Man’s Land
Every superhero has an origin story that hits home, whether it’s Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered in front of him, Peter Parker’s uncle dying on the street, or Captain America being the good kid that finally gets a chance to do what he’s always wanted.
For Wonder Woman, the origin is a little… Different. Being molded out of clay by her mother as the greek god Zeus strikes with a bolt of lightning to create life; this makes it incredibly hard to relate to Diana and gives little to no reason for the audience to care about her desire to save lives and fight evil.
Instead of focusing her origin story in Themyscira, director Patty Jenkins instead shows her youth in the city, without developing her character mentally. Diana essentially stays herself in spirit and mental state as she gets older, and her only real development is in her strength and fighting skills as she grows older.
When Wonder Woman’s personal growth comes into view is when she leaves Themyscira, and is thrown into a trench with British soldiers, moving absolutely nowhere, as the German troops are right across a field of nothing in another trench. A field known as ‘No Man’s Land.’ This is where the film could’ve went the absolute wrong way. Wonder Woman could’ve said, “but I am not a man.” It could’ve been overly corny or an awfully timed ‘girl power’ moment, and as Diana turned to the camera, I prepared myself for the cringe worthy dialogue that was inbound, but it didn’t come, instead, Diana says, “It’s what I have to do.”
It’s truly a beautifully realized line, and creates the first piece of mental character development she’s had in the entire movie. Wonder Woman steps into the battlefield, and watches bullets whizz by her, and blocks multiple with her bulletproof bracelets of submission. The choice of filming in slow motion pays off as well, it puts all the focus on Diana and every movement seems that much more important. Eventually, the germans unload everything they’ve got on her, and she blocks them with her shield almost effortlessly, creating some of the most powerful images of the year and some of the best visual storytelling as well.
This scene is timeless, and will be an image that no one forgets for years to come, and that is why it was my favorite movie moment of 2017.